Digging It?: Boring Co.’s tunneling machine, which Elon Musk plans to speed up.

Digging It?: Boring Co.’s tunneling machine, which Elon Musk plans to speed up.

Boring Co. founder Elon Musk acknowledged last week that his company would likely struggle to gain government approval for a tunnel extending from Los Angeles International Airport to Sherman Oaks, but said the endeavor was still worth a shot.

Musk was responding to a May 29 Business Journal article titled “Tunnel Skepticism Runs Deep,” which reported on the doubt among city officials in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Culver City – municipalities in the path of his planned tunnel.

“We can either give up hope & sit in traffic hell forever or try something new,” Musk wrote on Twitter. “The odds of success may be low, but they’re better than zero.”

Musk is aiming to build a tunnel boring machine that is much faster than the industry average, which he laments is slower than a snail. He plans to use such a machine to tunnel underground from LAX to Culver City, Santa Monica, Westwood, and Sherman Oaks. Cars would be whizzed through the tunnel at more than 120 mph on electric-powered sleds. The sled would then be raised to the surface on an elevator platform that emerges from a hole in the street when its destination is reached.

Musk noted his plan already has one city’s approval.

“The Boring Company is in Hawthorne and has already approved the permit,” he wrote on Twitter.

Officials from other local municipalities said such a tunnel plan would face a quagmire of environmental and safety regulations as well as property rights issues.

“The level of complexity and permitting and environmental review – and opportunity for environmental litigation – would stretch this out for decades,” said Santa Monica City Manager Rick Cole, a former L.A. deputy mayor, in last month’s article.

New Boss

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator has named Matt Petersen its next chief executive.

Petersen plans to move to the incubator from his position as chief sustainability officer for the city of Los Angeles and replace Chief Executive Fred Walti in mid-July.

Petersen said he will do his best to ensure continuity in the incubator’s operations, though he’d like to see the organization support more efforts to change the region’s reliance on internal combustion-powered vehicles.

“One of the great opportunities for LACI is to really help Los Angeles lead in terms of electrification of transportation,” he said. “L.A. is the epicenter of the car culture and LACI can be central to advancing solutions.”

Peterson said he also plans to partner with more research institutions, such as UCLA, to establish the incubator as a thought leader in environmentally friendly technology.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.